In an exhibit created by Dr. Jim Birchfield, Curator of Books, visitors to Special Collections in the Margaret I. King Building will see the first book about Kentucky --John Filson’s Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucke (1784) – along with his map of Kentucky engraved in the same year.
Filson moved from Pennsylvania to Lexington around 1782 where he worked as a surveyor and also assembled information about the area. He had acquired large acreages in Kentucky and was eager to create an interest in western immigration in order to sell his property. His book was soon printed in France and Germany, and the map was reprinted in London. These are also on exhibit in the lobby of King Library.
Filson moved to Ohio where he was an early owner of land in the vicinity of Cincinnati. In October of 1788 Filson disappeared with a surveying party in the forests of Ohio.